Burnout is a well-documented multifactorial phenomenon that affects up to 47% of intensive care unit staff at some point in their career. The literature highlights increased rates of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder among staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the second and, at the time of writing, largest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, concern for staff ’s mental health prompted a hospital-wide study to assess depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse and to determine the use and effectiveness of employee resources.
Through REDCap, 212 intensive care unit employees were surveyed with validated screening tools for depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse. The use and perceived effectiveness of hospital initiatives were assessed.
A total of 212 surveys were evaluated. Among respondents, 54% experienced mild anxiety, more than 50% screened positive for mild depression, and 37% screened positive for posttraumatic stress disorder. Most employees (74.5%) were aware of at least 1 resource; 37% knew of the COVID-19 newsletter, one of the top resources highlighted in the survey. Perceived effectiveness of resources ranged from 0.9% (disaster helpline) to 82.5% (prayers, readings, and the on-call chaplain—all “somewhat helpful”). The results correlate with the progressive trend of increased mental health concerns among intensive care unit employees. Survey results prompted an expansion of hospital resources.
COVID-19 has brought unique mental health challenges and stressors to intensive care unit staff. By adapting and expanding resources, hospitals can improve staff resiliency and mitigate some mental health concerns with the aim of decreasing the overall psychological impact of the pandemic.